For this winter’s Outdoor Retailer show in Denver, Digital Trends teamed up with The Manual to crown the greatest outdoor gear as our Best Of Show winners, along with four awards going to the most innovative products. Head on over to The Manual to see the complete Outdoor Retailer Awards.
Who said 3D printing was just for prototypes?
Snowboard manufacturer Capita is using a 3D printing approach called Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) to craft snowboard sidewalls that are stronger and less wasteful than the old approach. The process allows the snowboard manufacturer to essentially cut a single piece of sidewall with a custom machine and connect it to the board’s wooden core. Capita’s new core tech — which will first appear in its Spring Break line of snowboards — could represent a major shift in the company’s construction philosophy. And one that nabbed a Digital Trends Innovation Award.
The technology is a significant detour away from long-standing techniques which required milling a wood core and attaching four separate pieces of ABS plastic — a process that takes time and creates a large amount of waste. Although a few companies have attempted to address the issue via urethane resin sidewalls (which indeed streamline the process), the durability of the cores was typically sacrificed using this method.
Capita’s new patented technology — dubbed “FUS3D” — uses an exceptionally strong recyclable thermoplastic sidewall that increases the board’s durability when connected to the wooden core. Additionally, the tech makes the core more flexible and responsive, giving it performance benefits on top of extending the life of the board. For riders who log 80 or more days on the mountain in the winter, this aspect is critical.
Look for FUS3D sidewalls in Capita’s uber-popular Spring Break powder series this year, and all of them next season. And exxpect other snowboard companies to adopt a similar 3D-printed approach to sidewall construction in the wake of Capita’s success.